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Announcements Heroclix

Player’s Guide Update – The Brave and the Bold Edition

A new set comes out, which means it is time for a new Player’s Guide. You can grab a copy at the bottom of the article or you can go to the Downloads section to pick up the latest copy. This will be the last “Restricted/Unrestricted” release of the Player’s Guide. Next month will see the debut of Blackest Night and we’ll have our new Golden/Modern Age formats for the Player’s Guide.

A number of the figures from The Brave and The Bold have led to some questions. Where necessary, we’ve added clarifications to the Player’s Guide, but I’ll also review these items here.

ALTER EGOS

One of the new mechanics introduced in this set, a number of people have asked about how this mechanic works in a sealed format tournament.  If you pull a Diana Prince and a Winder Woman in your boosters, you are welcome to use the Alter Ego special power to change. But if you did not pull a Wonder Woman, you cannot bring one from outside the game in order to upgrade the character. If you think of the normal game play as allowing you o pull from your collection, in the sealed environment, your “collection” becomes limited to only those characters that you got from your booster(s).

Some folks are trying to find loopholes in order to use Superman at a lower cost or to have a transformed Clark Kent become more powerful. For clarity, you can never heal a character beyond the starting line it comes into the game on. So when Clark becomes Superman, the starting line for Superman is the orange line. You cannot then try to heal Superman up from this line.

It is also not allowed to decide to just play the super hero at the lower cost, even if you start them on their orange line. Putting Batman on your force means you start with a 74 point character on his green line. You cannot start Batman on his orange line at 48 points. The orange starting line is only used when Bruce Wayne activates his Alter Ego special power.

ERRATA

There are 3 figures that needed a bit of tweaking to more accurately reflect their design.

Power Girl – this errata was issued within 24 hours of her announcement. Power Girl was designed and play tested with a trait allowing her to use Super Strength.

Flash and Green Lantern – similar to Power Girl, this figure was designed and play tested with more capability than was printed on the final figure. With the publication of this errata, this figure now has a range of 8 and 2 targets.

Mister Miracle and Oberon – the special power that allows adjacent characters to TK this figure needed a slight adjustment as the figure is a multi-based figure and could not actually be moved with Telekinesis without some errata.

Shazam! and Black Adam – A small correction to the trait that allows you to choose the point value of the figure clarifies the Duo/Single confusion. In a nutshell, when you play the character at 280 points, it is considered a Duo. But at only 140 points, you get the attack symbol.

CHARACTER NAMES

There are a couple of mechanics in The Brave and the Bold that use character names to determine how a mechanic works. Kryptonite Man, for example, has a real affect on characters named “Superman”. Meanwhile, Extant has a special power that causes characters with the same name to take damage in unison. This leads to questions about how close the name needs to be.

Firstly, the names do need to be the same. It is not enough to have part of the name be included. So, “Superman Prime” and “Superman Robot” would not count as “Superman”. Similarly, “Checkmate Pawn (White)” is not going to be the same as “Checkmate Pawn (Black)”.

Secondly, where abbreviations are used, the entirety of the name should be considered. So “Dr. Doom” and “Doctor Doom” are both going to be affected by Extant’s special power.

The character who makes this the most “interesting” is the new, fun-to-play, Superman and The Flash character. To date, they are the only figure in the game whose name actually changes partway through the match. So while Kryptonite Man will have no affect on “Superman and The Flash”, once their “And the Winner Is” power activates, and the player chooses one or the other, the name of the figure changes to either “Superman” or “The Flash”. And the wrong choice here could lead to Kryptonite Man being very happy!

TRAITS AND OUTWIT

Traits cannot be countered, everyone knows that. It’s been like that since traits first appeared in Mutations and Monsters. But the concepts of “possess” and “use” need to be reviewed so that this can be completely understood. To do that, I’m going to use the “way back” machine and talk about a similar mechanic – feats. Feats are also something that cannot be countered. However an individual feat can either let a character use a power or it can say that a character possesses a power. Two examples:

Alias: “This character can use Shape Change…”

Force Field: “… This character gains Toughness.”

In the case of Alias, the character assigned the feat does not gain, have, or possess Shape Change. They can use it. As a result, you would not be able to outwit Shape Change on that character. On the other hand, a figure that is equipped with Force Field would gain Toughness – it behaves as if it is a power on their dial – and it can be outwitted, should you choose. Even though the feat itself cannot be countered, if it indicates the character now possesses something new, then that new thing might be able to be countered.

For example, Pym Particles, if it were used to gain the damage-giant symbol, you would not be able to outwit the symbol, because combat symbols cannot be countered. On the other hand, Giant Stride – one of the abilities the damage-giant icon grants you that can be countered – would still be available to an outwitter.

So now, let’s bring this back to traits. Almost all of the traits in existence specify that a character “can use” something (for example, Power Girl’s trait that says “Power Girl can use Super Strength”). In those cases, since the trait cannot be countered and the power itself is not possessed, the character gets that ability with no fear of it being countered.

But when a trait says that something is gained or possessed – like Batman and Green Arrow’s trait “Batman and Green Arrow possess the Sharpshooter ability.” – then it would allow an outwitter to target that ability, even though the source of it is something that cannot be outwitted. It’s the same as Toughness being available for outwit when Force Field is being used.

That’s about all I have for this week. The link for the latest player’s guide is available below and should also appear in the downloads section of the site. Anything you’re having trouble with, feel free to drop me a line at HeroClixRules@gmail.com

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Announcements

Checkmate!

Welcome back to part two of a preview-filled week of DC HeroClix: Brave & The Bold!

Today, we have a couple more sneak peaks for you, as well as a special update on our exciting, new Brave & The Bold Organized Play kits (featured in separate post for easy reading).  Our primary preview explores some uncharted game design space that I have touched on in previous articles.  With Brave & The Bold, I wanted the R&D team to try their hand at coming up with Special Powers that encouraged players to think about their collections in new and interesting ways.  Let’s talk about why I made this a priority.

Thinking critically about HeroClix (or most CMGs for that matter), you can deduce certain advantages and disadvantages to the platform.  One advantage of HeroClix is that when you’re not playing the game, you still have awesome sculpted figures that show off your favorite comic book characters.  The product works whether you’re gaming or not.  Batman can sling batarangs across a HeroClix map, or he can bring joy to me by hanging out on my office desk.

When I’m not playing a board game, it just sits in its box.  The magic is confined until I open up and play the game.  How many times have you seen someone display parts to a board game or a screen shot to a video game?  Our game is fun to play, and you have awesome little totems that show off your love of comics.  My Crisis Black Adam is a beast both in terms of game play and sheer cool factor.  When I look over to my bookshelf and see Black Adam smugly staring back at me, arms folded, I get additional joy outside of any game played.   This is a giant advantage over many other game platforms.

One advantage and disadvantage of HeroClix is that when I’m playing a standard-length game, I only use a small percentage of my collection.  I may own a hundred figures, but if I’m playing a 300-point game, I may only need two.  Conveniently, Black Adam and DC HeroClix: Origin Booster Gold add up to a clean 300 points…win!

This is great for a starting player.  The number of pieces that I need to start playing is pretty manageable.  Additionally, I could give my brother/nephew/neighbor a handful of extra commons and have him start clicking away in no time.  For someone tasked with Brand Development, this is a windfall.  I have heard horror stories of other people trying to get their friends into minis games, and two years later they’ve acquired, assembled, painted, re-painted, and amassed hundreds of dollars of figures.  After all of this, they’re just ready to dip their toe into the water.  Could you imagine years of preparation to play a game?  With HeroClix, you can have fun and learn the game with a Starter and a few boosters.  We’ll even paint the minis for you.  What a deal!

The disadvantage of this low set-up requirement for the game is that while you’re playing, a good amount of your collection remains dormant.  While Black Adam is cracking heads and Booster Gold is cracking wise, I have an “Out of the Shadows” Batman and a Bizarro waiting patiently on the sidelines for their chance to play, too.  By having R&D develop a handful of Special Powers that shake up traditional force-building, we can make larger parts of your collection more relevant.  The Alter Ego characters that we previewed last week give players an option to transform one piece into another.  This is relevant and flavorful in terms of comic books, and feels like a great mechanic for a small subset of iconic characters.  You have the ability to use multiple pieces from your collection, even though the build requirements may remain limiting.

Are Special Powers the only tool we have to achieve this goal?  No.  By including characters that complete or add to existing teams we also can provide more reasons for you to dig through your collection for more gaming options.

Today’s previews use both of these concepts, and they also earn extra credit for being interesting non-unique pieces that foster army building as a gameplay option.

(gallery bb-figure-006)

The “Battlefield Promotion” Special Power featured on the Checkmate Pawns began in design as “Level-Up.”  I’ll be the first to admit that Checkers is not a great game, but it features one of the best game mechanics of all-time.  By navigating through the enemy’s defenses and eliminating their pieces, my brave little checker can become, yes, a KING!  Saying “King me!” as a young checker-playing lad was a great feeling.  Any RPG player or MMO player can attest to the excitement and feelings of achievement gained from reaching a new level.

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We knew early on that the Alter Ego mechanic had quite a bit of upside, but do to the strong flavor association to the power, we only wanted to use it in very small doses.  A leveling mechanic could provide players with options that would allow them to use larger portions of their collection, but could be used on simpler “army level” characters.  Both mechanics involve transformation, but in two strikingly different ways.

(gallery bb-figure-013)

When we knew “Level-Up” would be interesting in terms of playability, R&D was tasked with providing character options to sync up to the mechanic.  Checkmate Pawns were submitted as an early option, and thematically, they seemed a great choice.  If you don’t know a great deal about Checkmate, you can click here to level up your knowledge on them.  While there’s a bit of mixing of metaphors with Checkers and Chess here, it remains appropriate comic-wise (and metaphor-wise) for a Pawn to rise through the ranks of Checkmate and become a higher-level agent (or Knight, in this case).  Just think about a plucky pawn making its way to a promotion in the back row of a chessboard.

(gallery bb-figure-014)

Additionally, I mentioned that team-building provided a great resource for those wanting to use larger portions of their collection.  With Amanda Waller, Count Vertigo, and Thinker all in Arkham Asylum, building out the Checkmate team seemed like a natural extension.  Like the Parademons, Checkmate Agents were featured near HeroClix’s beginning (Hypertime), and these new exciting executions breathe second-life into one of my favorite clandestine operations.

Until next time,

Jake “King Me!” Theis

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Announcements

Three Parademons Walk into a Bar…

Last Friday, I previewed one example of our new execution of REV which featured Damian Wayne using two different identities.  Today, rather than focusing on two versions of one character, my Brave & The Bold sneak peak features  different, thematically related characters that allow for a variety of new force-building options.

* Quick note- To get larger versions of the pics below, please click on them.  I’m learning the ins-and-outs of our new-ish WordPress client, so please be merciful as I learn how to add in cool bells and whistles to posts.  Thanks!

Before we dive into the pics, I have to confess that I am huge fan of Apokalips and the Jack-Kirby New Gods storylines.  Darkseid, his minions, and his enemies stand out to me as a compelling mythology that spans the DC Universe.  When we compiled potential characters to include for the ‘Minion’ mechanic in Brave & The Bold, Parademons, the rank-and-file of Apokalips, seemed like a natural fit.  Having no version of them in HeroClix since Cosmic Justice, they were long-overdue for a triumphant return.

While incorporating the literally grunt-level Parademons into the set, we were split on whether to include a handful of Apokalips characters directly into Brave & The Bold or leave the Parademons simply as pieces that interact with past sets (like Lashina from Arkham Asylum).  We ultimately decided to split the difference and include a Parademon officer to help amp up army building, while still leaving the Apokalips cast as grist for a future set (maybe as a powerful counterbalance in a Superman-themed set?).  For the Parademon Sergeant, I especially like the “Darkseid’s Motivational Techniques” power that was submitted by our R&D team.  It’s flavorful and adds an interesting tension to the game.

In addition to the awesome army of Apokalips, many HeroClix fans have asked us to continue building the Secret Six.  I really admire Gail Simone’s innovative work with the Six (and Birds of Prey, too!), and when we knew that the minion Parademon Grunt would be included in the set, it was natural to add “The Parademon” using our new version of REV.  With “The Parademon,” there’s another great, flavorful example of a special power with “Motherbox Detonation.”

All in all, the Parademons provide three dynamic takes using the new twist on REV.  Brave & The Bold features quite a few interesting experiments, and I’m curious to see what players respond to and what interests people going forward.  With Hammer of Thor, we tried a variety of new ideas, garnering some definite hits that we plan to continue  in future sets.  We’re keenly interested to hear your feedback following the release of B&B.  Each set is like a mosaic tile that allows us continue the great, growing vision of what HeroClix is.  Will the picture ever be complete?

Well, with the amount of awesome new content that our licensors release (Blackest Night, anyone?), I think not.  We’ll certainly continue to show off classic figures from comics history and also showcase interesting new characters as they debut.

Expect more exciting Brave & The Bold previews this week!

-Jake

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Heroclix Preview

Back to the Front! Plus, a Sneak Preview!

Hello… again!

My name is Jake Theis, and I am here to talk ‘Clix.

Over the past two years, I’ve lived and breathed HeroClix, creating new releases and promoting a beloved game around the globe.  I have the extraordinary fortune to work on a game that has a rabid core of fans that have passionate ideas on well… everything.  Since joining WizKids, I have built great friendships throughout the HeroClix community and across the game industry.  I value the input and suggestions of our fans and you can rest assured that we are always listening.

Recently, I helped with the transition of WizKids to its new owners at NECA, and thanks to NECA’s flexibility, I remain based out of Seattle, partnering with a group of folks that we affectionately call “WizKids West.”  I have operated primarily under the radar over the past few months, developing new products that will release over the coming months and years.

Justin, Drew, and Norm have done a fantastic job providing you with news, insights, and previews.  My goal is to open up the Brand Development team, and show you, the player, all the cool things that we are working on or have completed.  We’ve been up to our ears in dials and character cards, but with the convention season approaching and DC HeroClix: Brave & The Bold ready to preview, it’s a great time for show and tell.

First, though, I want to build a time machine, and take us back to the summer of 2008.  *WHOOOSH* Alright, everyone still with me?  Good.

I joined WizKids in March 2008 (exactly two years ago), but in the summer of that year, I was commissioned with building a Brand Development team that consolidated the departments of R&D and Brand.  Hammer of Thor was the first HeroClix set to be designed and developed using this team-based approach.  We incorporated many different opinions into the set’s design, and I am particularly proud of the success that Hammer has enjoyed.  Thanks to everyone for checking out the release!

One of my goals with Hammer of Thor (and with HeroClix) was to deliver surprises to fans and have collectors think about their collections in new ways.  With a couple thousand figures in the HeroClix universe, it is important to keep the game fresh and exciting without ratcheting up complexity.

With Hammer of Thor, we debuted a few new game mechanics (always exciting) and philosophies with the hope of getting people to approach force-building in new ways, while keeping rules “creep” at a minimum.   When working on a licensed game, it’s perhaps most important to make sure the existing intellectual property syncs up neatly with the mechanics of the game.  With a licensed comic book property and with comic book fans, it is especially critical.  My favorite of our new mechanics in Hammer was what we called in playtesting- “Army Building.”  You know it as “Minion.”

The “Minion” mechanic grew directly and organically out of the Thor-universe.  The 1970s and ‘80s runs of Mighty Thor feature the Thunder God squaring off time-and-again against insurmountably large forces of fantastic creatures and monsters.  Invariably, these armies are commanded by big, nasty “generals,” who Thor ultimately smashes after pulverizing his way through their ranks.  To offset the high-point, “godly” figs mandatory in a Thor-themed set, we decided to incorporate army building mechanically.  As designers, we thought it important to give players the option of playing huge, godly figs or swarms of figures balanced to take out one-man (or woman) forces.  (There will be more on this topic in a second).

Additionally, the minion mechanic makes the common slot of a booster release much more intriguing.  There is a definite value to having both high-profile, iconic characters at common, as well as non-unique figures that players will want a bunch of copies of for army creation.  Also, it’s a lot of fun for Thor to Charge into a group of Rock Trolls, then Quake them to pieces, just like the comics.

I can’t leave you today without letting you guys peak behind the curtain at least once.

Today’s preview piece comes straight out of DC HeroClix: Brave & The Bold.  Earlier I said that in Hammer, we wanted to provide more options beyond the godly Asgardians.  Well, to balance the awesome, heroic duos found in B&B, we thought it was important to also provide some force-building options.

The army building/Minion mechanic found in Hammer was very well received during our testing and early discussions, so we included some more options for it in B&B.  In the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at some of those characters.  Additionally, we wanted to make sure that there were higher-point, powerful individual figures that could stand toe-to-toe with the heroic team-ups.  We included a group of exciting, powerful villains in Brave & The Bold to fulfill this task.  Luckily for us, the DC Universe is loaded with monstrous baddies that can give any team a run for its money.

Today’s preview fig was “built” for this opportunity.  I give you the cyborg-

Metallo!

Metallo

Ready to trade blows with Superman and his friends, Metallo starts off with a bang (and a dangerous Kryptonite Core)- Charge, Poison, Super Strength, and Impervious are complimented by an opening click of five damage.  After trading killer blows in the early game, the devious Metallo can Rebuild (Steal Energy), all while using his Malleability to tie-up (and carve up) opponents.  All-in-all, he provides a great threat for heroic duos at just 182 points.  His fighting skills are sure to warm even a metallic heart.  I hope you have as much fun with him as we have.

Metallo Card Front
Metallo Card Back
Metallo Dial

Well, it’s great to be back, and showing off all of our cool new toys.

Until next time,

Jake

P.S. It’s great to be officially back!